Thursday, January 15, 2015. Perhaps it would be more helpful to me if I looked at some things I care deeply about from the perspective of why I care rather than why so many in our society do not care. What is it about me that makes me KNOW that there are times when mothering well requires sacrifice and suffering, a most unpopular notion among so many women in today’s world.
Am I being forced by mass thinking that surrounds me to accept the idea that I am simply “old school,” out-of-step and out-of-synch with what “everyone else” knows to be NEW school, and therefore correct? I am not really even allowed to add “and proper” at the end of the sentence I just wrote because that word and the concepts it pertains to – proper – is itself an “old school” value. Is, then, essential mothering itself obsolete?
Oh no, oh no, OH NO! From my point of view, from my perspective, from my knowledge base, we as a society built from the people that society contains and is built by, are in DEEP trouble if what I “suspect” proves to actually be true!
If I broaden my own thinking so that I can ponder how millennia of evolution built our species to NEED certain events to happen at certain critical stages of our individual growth and develop such that evolution has given the fulfillment of those needs to the same women – mothers – who conceive and carry into their birthing their children – and if those same mothers are en masse perfectly FINE now with abandoning the care of their infants at or very near birth to other people so that mommy can “go to work outside the home” is there ANY price being paid by these offspring?
If so, what is that price?
We can think as a society that “advancements” have given us so many choices that “old” ways of “doing things” are no longer necessary, or even appropriate. We simply now “know better” now.
This process includes not feeling afraid of things that scared people in the past. Of course this process relies on resources that are available some places in the world and not in others. Clean water and air, adequate food and shelter from the elements, medical care and protection from predators are among the resources that baseline societal well-being relies upon.
The quality of mothering, which rests at the heart of any society, is directly impacted by the availability of vital resources within the society she lives within. I don’t mean to be redundant here, but the need for resources to meet basic human needs lie densely, compactly, inescapably at a center around which human need fulfillment or deprivation swirl. We might think we can think our way away from this center without dire consequence, but can we?
As long as we THINK we are immune from harmful consequence we will continue to act in ways our thinking fosters – until? Until the dire consequences present themselves in a way that cannot be ignored.
I cannot ignore my concerns about the well-being of America’s infants and children NOW. But, then, I am “old school” and who gives a damn about anything we ole foggies might have to say?
I see no way that nature designed humans as they need to complete critical stages in their earliest development that will impact the body these little ones will live with for the rest of their lifespan to be “dropped” off to be cared for by strangers during the earliest months in their life when evolution has designated that an infant MUST have its mother’s intense care and attention.
We KNOW what the earliest developmental stages involve, what needs to be present for these stages to be optimally accomplished and we know what happens when conditions that are not optimal force a little person to develop along a malevolent, unsafe and insecure attachment trajectory.
Yes, obviously, strangers care take care of babies. Less obvious is that the focused attention of a mother on the optimal care for her infant creates an optimal human being under all ordinary conditions (barring present ill health in offspring that require additional care).
Even in large families where infant care is handled by older children and by other related adults those conditions are not mirrored within today’s narrow-range of dense children’s peer groups tended by adults in a minimally acceptable – dictated purely by financial concerns – ratio.
In today’s “modern” world the idea that a mother who brings a baby into the world is the one nature has designed to be its primary caregiver especially during the first year of life is an intensely unpopular – and strongly challenged and condemned if not completely ignored – idea. How DARE anyone suggest such a thing!!
How could building safe and secure attachment through all waking hours of a baby’s life so that its social-emotional rapidly forming right brain, with its connection to all operations of the entire brain and nervous system (including stress-calm response system and immune system) matters more than making money? Who cares that building an optimal body-brain, which lays the foundational circuitry in the baby toward the development of self in relation to others within a member of a completely social species, is altered (and in my thinking damaged) by abandonment of mother in the first year of an infant’s life?
Let the little ones pay the price. After all, it’s not like babies can TALK about their suffering and sacrifices.
And if any adult actually does speak up on behalf of the needs and losses of these little ones?
Ostracize them. Shun them. Ignore them.
“Socially isolate” them. Funny. That is what the growing body-brain of an infant having its fundamental needs ignored by its mother feels like. That is how the BODY-brain interprets rejection, abandonment and the “ignoring” of a mother who is not paying adequate attention to her young infant.
What constitutes adequate attention in today’s “modern” world? What percentage of a little person’s waking life is “good enough” mothering required for optimal infant development?
I know someone who is at this moment in the midst of a week-long training at the national center of one of our nation’s most prominent program to improve the quality of parenting of children: Parents as Teachers. I asked this person, who is herself a full-time working mother of young children, if this program ever mentions nature’s design for mothers to be the primary attachment person – during the waking hours — of her infant’s life. The answer was no. With this qualifier: Society does not provide the necessary in infrastructure for mothers to accomplish this task.
So? Don’t mention it.
Why pay attention to something we en masse CHOOSE to ignore and do nothing about?
Dr. Allan N. Schore is among the hosts of scientists who are telling us the truth:
And we move on in our thinking to the developmental needs of children over the age of one? What about the needs of preschoolers? Try the knowledge of Dr. Gordon Neufeld for the truth:
In the REALLY old days as humans were being designed through evolution in certain ways to not only survive but to ensure at least some representatives of our species developed in the best way possible, it was always the quality of the life surrounding mothers that determined the quality of development little ones could achieve.
The lack of adequate resources in a family, tribe, culture, society was reflected in the hardships mothers faced in caring for their young. Optimal resources = optimal mothers = optimal mothering = optimal offspring development. When this pattern was not possible someone ALWAYS paid the price.
In “the old times” when survival was extremely difficult REALLY difficult choices needed to be made: Who survives? A mother already having reached childbearing years could reproduce to “carry forward the line” obviously much more quickly when times became good-enough again than could a small person.
Who would be taken care of and who was required to sacrifice?
For whatever reasons and in whatever ways our current societies perspectives are clouded – if not completely twisted. We can be gentle in our assessment of so many current mothering practices and say it doesn’t really matter WHO cares for babies. We do this as we either forget the truth or as we ignore it. NOTHING is going to improve for generations at the rate we are going in America now where making “the almighty buck” and giving in to women’s RIGHT to go out and work – to escape the kind of sacrifice and suffering she would most often need to go through should she choose to stay at home and care for her own young infants and children. Because, yes, societal conditions DO NOT meet the personal needs of most mothers who stay at home.
Who wants to sacrifice and suffer? If THAT is what our society offers to families, is it not logically better to make the ones who cannot voice their truth — because they cannot physiologically do so — pay the price?
I remain unclear as to how things are ever going to get better that way. I believe it is fundamentally misogyny that is at the root of the current pattern of mothers rejecting the primary nature of the job nature dictates they agree to when they birth a child.
Who wants to talk about how we live in a society that basically HATES women? Women are DONE WITH THAT hatred. The biggest tragedy is the suffering at the heart of our culture BECAUSE it just so happens that —— women ARE the mothers of our species.
NOTE: Under optimal conditions mothering is not designed to necessarily involve suffering, and perhaps not sacrifice – but that is a topic for another post….
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